Behind the scenes of Diana Arno creative process

Jun / 2019 by
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Behind the scenes of Diana Arno creative process

Started in 2011, as persuasion of passion for designing cocktail dresses, Diana Arno had her own brand store in Tallinn in just a couple of years. In 2015, she introduced the very first DIANA ARNO ready-to-wear collection at Tallinn Fashion Week, transforming Estonian fashion history by bringing the world-renowned supermodel Carmen Kass to walk down the runway for her show, which was the first time (and the last time up till now) Carmen modeled in her homeland.

We had a chance to interview Diana during Riga Fashion Week, where she was presenting her new collection, feminine and vibrant, like everything she designs.


How is working in fashion industry different for you now from when you started in 2011?

The difference for me is huge. When I started in 2011, I was alone. It was a dream to reach the level I have now.

Now I have an amazing team, which is there for me all the way. It is rather small, but there are people who are doing their best to help me build my brand. I don’t have to do all the accounting and management all by myself anymore. I can concentrate on design, that’s what I love the most. My brand is becoming more real – we have our store, different suppliers and buyers. At the beginning it seemed more like a hobby.

How do you want women to feel wearing your clothes?

Firstly – confident, also happy and comfortable.

When I create my designs, I always think of the significance of giving women freedom to stay true to themselves. To acknowledge the importance of their own wishes and preferences, their values.

“Most of all I am inspired by women! I follow their stories, personalities, heroic characters, I reach to them with my designs.”

Where do you seek inspiration?

I have been traveling a lot recently. I get inspired by new places, experiences and emotions from visiting different museums and exhibitions.

But the main source – people. Most of all I am inspired by women! I do have my muses. When I create, I always reach out to them in my thoughts. Imagining how my designs will look on them, how it will make them feel.

Sometimes I’m inspired by astonishing women I don’t even know personally, and some great women of history who are long gone. I follow their stories, personalities, heroic characters, I reach to them with my designs.

It is well known that the result of any creative process can very much differ from the starting point that one has imagined. Are your designs changing a lot on their way from sketches to final product?

Actually, it’s quite common, as sometimes making of one item can take up to a month. At the very beginning of the creative process there is only an idea, an image in my head. When you create a sketch, it starts giving you all the hints and ideas for changes and development. Then you are starting to experiment with fabrics, which would fit the best, what details are needed, changes of silhouette, length, pocket’s shape and size, etc. It is a pretty long way, putting a lot of hard work in each piece, attention to details, so you can finally reach the harmony of a final result.

Does the main concept stay throughout the whole process?

The concept stays! My vision, my idea is there all the way. But when you create, details start to literally reveal the item in the best of its way.


As a designer are you more intuitive or analytical?

It’s definitely 50/50!

I have to analyze everything I’m doing. After launching each collection, together with my team we analyze which items will be more commercial, and which will probably stay as the show pieces.

But intuition is also very important! As a person of fashion world, you have to feel which new trends will be more likable and wearable. Will it be polka dots, certain colors or specific silhouette that will be more popular than other.  Here comes your intuition in play.


People from the fashion industry are often complaining that such massive brands as H&M and ZARA, with their rapid turnover and mass production, are immediately copying all the trends and headliners of famous brands’ collections. What is your opinion regarding this matter?

Oh, yes! Fast fashion is their business, I must say, it’s their successful strategy. Honestly, I’m not the kind of person who purchases items from fast fashion brands. Not because I prefer more expensive stuff, but because I have my own philosophy. I am confident that good quality product should cost a bit more, but it also has to be made with a deep thought and care for the environment! Our planet is overloaded with cheap clothes, recklessly rotating and polluting the natural surroundings. People are constantly buying, renewing their wardrobe, chasing trends – awful tendencies! Honestly, it is quite a big topic for me. Because I care!

Personally, I prefer to enjoy my clothes for longer, so I would rather pay more and  cherish the enjoyment of what I actually like. I never purchase any attire to use it for only a couple of months!

Any garment can be trendy and stylish not just for only one season, especially now when trends tend to repeat themselves from season to season. It can serve and bring joy longer if it is of quality make and is produced wisely.

“I always think of the significance of giving women freedom to stay true to themselves.”

Some designers say that their favorite collection pieces are the ones that don’t sell. Is it true with your brand?

It could be so sometimes.

But let me tell you our brand’s story. Now we are most represented in three countries – Estonia, Latvia and Russia.

In Estonia, for example, only a few understand my designs and accept my favorite pieces. On the other hand, in Russia the majority is getting into my collections pretty fast, including my personal favorites. My Russian friends can even request for some of my designs that I’m currently wearing myself, if they are unable to find them elsewhere.

In Latvia people are also friendly and open to my designs, which I love and appreciate very much.

Opinions vary depending on a country, on people’s mentality and their preferences. Sometimes in a rather unpredictable way.

In your opinion, is there a difference between Estonian and Latvian design and fashion?


Yes, I feel the difference! It is not significant, but it’s there.

Working in the fashion industry I somehow can recognize which is Estonian design and which is Latvian.

Has your style changed in years in the fashion industry?

All people are changing through time. So, me too – living my life, developing, getting to know new people, gathering new knowledge. Moving to Moscow, Russia also affected me, I sense like I’m getting “bigger” now. Being in an intensive flow of information is developing me in a certain way.

I put a lot of thoughts and effort into making a difference with my designs. Slow fashion, sustainability, impact on the planet – these are all important issues for me.

Do you think your designs that we are seeing this season will be relevant in 10 years?

I truly hope so! I never really wanted to make one-season clothes. I put a lot of thoughts and effort into making a difference with my designs. To make something that can last and bring delight to women not just for a season or two. I love to think ahead.

Slow fashion, sustainability, impact on the planet – these are all important issues to me.

Photo Ģirts Raģelis

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